All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Astronomy’

Planck Telescope is Officially Dead

The European Space Agency (ESA) today officially announced that the Planck space telescope has been shut off for good. The final command to the telescope was sent from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) this afternoon. Planck researchers earlier this week had been preparing the telescope for that final moment, disconnecting its systems and burning off the remainder of its …

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ESA Prepares to Shut Off the Planck Observatory

The European Space Agency (ESA) today announced that it has burned off the last of the Planck space observatory’s fuel. The fuel burn was made to put the satellite in a safe orbit around the sun. The Planck observatory will be shut down entirely on Wednesday, October 23 when its transmitters are switched off. Astronomers are currently in the process …

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Neptune Inner Moon Naiad Rediscovered in Hubble Images

Astronomers this week announced that Neptune’s small inner moon, named Naiad, has been spotted for the first time since the Voyager 2 probe left Neptune’s orbit in 1989. Researchers led by SETI scientist Mark Showalter found the moon in images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in December 2004. “Naiad has been an elusive target ever since Voyager left the …

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Astronomers Find “Twist” in Cosmic Microwave Background

Astronomers this week announced that they have found a “twist” in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation that blankets the universe. To be more specific, researchers have detected B-mode polarization in the CMB caused by gravitational lensing. What this means is that astronomers have discovered just how the earliest light in the universe was deflected by galaxies and dark matter …

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Clouds Mapped on Jupiter-Like Exoplanet

Though much of the agency is preparing to shut down, NASA this week announced that astronomers have mapped the clouds of a planet outside our own solar system. Using the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers have created a cloud map of Kepler-7b, a Jupiter-like planet that orbits around the star Kepler-7. Though Kepler-7b has less than half the mass …

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Oscillating X-ray/Radio Millsecond Pulsar Spotted

Astronomers today announced that they have found a “missing link” for pulsar research. A pulsar has been found to oscillate between emitting radio waves and X-rays while spinning extremely fast. Pulsars, which are the remnants of dead stars (neutron stars) that were not massive enough to become black holes, are generally classified by the type of electromagnetic emissions they create. …

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NASA’s NuSTAR Finds Its First 10 Supermassive Black Holes

Astronomers this week announced that NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has spotted its first 10 supermassive black holes. NuSTAR, an X-ray space telescope, was launched in June 2012 on a mission to conduct surveys for supermassive black holes (those billions of times more massive than our sun) and supernova remnants. A new paper, published in the Astrophysical Journal, describes …

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Spitzer Telescope Now a Decade Old

Sunday marks the ten-year anniversary of the launch of NASA‘s Spitzer Space Telescope. NASA today commemorated the milestone by taking a look back at all the discoveries Spitzer has been integral in this past decade. “I always knew Spitzer would work, but I had no idea that it would be as productive, exciting and long-lived as it has been,” said …

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Kepler Space Telescope Broken, NASA Gives Up on Restoration

Sometimes the best physicists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world can’t save a failing satellite. NASA announced today that it has given up attempts to restore the malfunctioning Kepler Space Telescope. One of the Kepler’s four reaction wheels failed back in July 2012, and a second went out this past May. Since that time NASA researchers have been attempting to …

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Super-Strong Magnetic Field Found Around Magnetar

Astronomers this week revealed that one of the strongest magnetic fields ever observed has been spotted around a neutron star. The object, dubbed SGR 0418, is also a magnetar – a subset of neutron stars that have strong magnetic fields. Neutron stars are what is left of stars that burn up their fuel and undergo supernova but do not become …

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Smallest Planet Yet Spotted Around Sun-Like Star

Astronomers this week announced they have directly imaged the smallest planet yet found around a sun-like star. The planet, GJ 504b, is about four times the mass of Jupiter. It orbits its star at around 43 times the distance from Earth to the sun and has a dark pink color. The star GJ 504 is a main sequence (G0 stellar …

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Maria Mitchell Google Doodle Honors First Female Professional Astronomer

Today, Google is honoring Maria Mitchell with a really cool Doodle that shows the first American professional female astronomer using a telescope to look to the sky – presumably in hunt for “Miss Mitchell’s Comet,” which she would discover in 1847. Mitchell was born in 1818 in Nantucket, Massachusetts and raised in the Quaker faith. She most likely benefitted from …

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